Tallahassee's 'Shock Man' hoping to play chess once again

Published: May. 23, 2017 at 4:39 PM EDT
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By: Erin Lisch

May 23, 2017

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- Just steps away from one of the busiest grocery stores in Tallahassee, you can't help but notice a smile that stops customers right in their tracks.

That smile, belongs to Walter Hand.

Also known as the 'Shock Man'. The reason why? When people say he can't, he proves them wrong.

When asked how many years he’s independently sold newspapers, Walter says, "Almost fifty."

Every time Alvin Thompson goes to the Publix located on Ocala Road, he buys a paper from Walter.

"Walter is a real nice guy, he's doing a good job and I appreciate what he does," says Thompson.

Jacqueline Napier is now a friend of Walter's after seeing him for years selling papers.

Napier says, "Words can't describe what I think about Walter."

Walter defies the odds. He has cerebral palsy, but that doesn't stop him from setting up and selling the news right off the press.

"I have known Walter since Publix was on Pensacola Street," says Napier.

Growing up in Tallahassee, Sheree Williams says Walter has always been around.

"I have been seeing Walter since I was a little girl. Now since I shop here I always speak to him," says Williams.

Walter travels to his spot in front of the store on his scooter.

"It's the only way I can make money," says Walter.

Monday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday; five days a week Walter is hard at work.

"He does not skip a beat. It’s cold, it's rainy, it's hot, you'll see him,” says Williams.

But Walter’s not just looking to make a buck. If you look closely enough, you'll notice something else; a sign.

Asking not for cash, but a favor for someone to help him workout

When asked why he wants to work out, Walter says, "It helps my body."

Working out is vital for Walter because his disorder affects how his body moves and how his muscles coordinate.

He hopes to become strong enough to play chess again.

You might not know, but Walter is a local chess champ. For years he won tournaments along Lake Ella.

"I like it…it's good for my mind," smiles Walter.

His physical disability, never hindering his dedication.

“I think it's absolutely awesome. God has certainly looked after him," says Napier.

"If you don't feel like going somewhere that morning or something like that and you look at Walter, and you say look Walter got determination, I got determination too," says Williams.

And he'll continue to sell his papers, inspiring others along the way.

Along for his want to get in shape again, Walter needs a new scooter after the wear and tear over the years.

You can find more information about Walter and donate to his fund